1984 Scorecard Vote
While some dams and canals are justified, others are pure "pork barrel" projects whose costs are much higher than their benefits. Often these projects destroy free flowing rivers, wetlands, important wildlife habitats, virgin bottomland forests, and fertile flood plains. If those who benefited from these projects had to pay a major portion of the costs, the political pressure to build many unneeded and destructive projects would disappear. But if a local community can get a dam built almost entirely at federal expense, the temptation to overlook alternative ways to meet water supply or flood control needs can be great.
The 1985 water projects authorizations bill contained some new cost sharing provisions, but they were not strong enough to prevent construction of many purely pork barrel projects. The vote is on the Petri amendment to require project sponsors and beneficiaries to pay their share during project construction, rather than repaying Uncle Sam at low interest rates stretched out over decades. The amendment also raises the share required for certain types of project purposes, and increased user fees on federally funded ports and waterways.
Petri amendment rejected 85-213; June 29, 1984. YES is the pro-environmental vote. (Petri amendment to the Water Resources Development Authorization bill, H.R. 3678.) The Reagan Administration supported the Petri amendment. This mammoth water project authorization bill never passed Congress in 1984.